revision: seeing things, againPosted: December 3, 2008
Some further, if not final, thoughts about revision as you move headlong into the final project. As I mentioned last class, a key aspect of the revision project is a crucial component of becoming a stronger writer: reflection. For that reason, in focusing on revision even more deliberately than we already have throughout the course, your final project is your final exam. If, as you leave this course, you have a better sense of how to revise your critical thinking and writing to be more effective, thoughtful, and imaginative, then you have achieved the objectives of the course.
That said, here are some ways to grasp further what I mean when I say that a writer needs to take a risk when revising. If revision literally means “seeing things again,” then I suggest the key to revision is to focus on the “seeing things.” Go back to an essay or an idea, but consider what you didn’t see; consider, even, what may not be there. Try juxtaposition: for example, go back to an earlier reading of a text (say, Frankenstein, or your own autobiography as a reader) and see some things that aren’t there, but could be there–if you now put that earlier text/idea in the context of another text/idea. How might Birkerts’ notion of privacy and reading change your view of Frankenstein? Does it help you complicate your vision of the novel? Does the novel help you complicate your understanding of Birkerts? In doing this, in seeing some things that weren’t originally there, notice also that you start to combine the focal points we have worked on individually and weave them together: close reading, critical application. That should be an aspect of your final project that you consider and reflect upon: how you are able to see multiple elements of your writing (the four focal points, the various elements of our strong writing rubric) at work in your writing. Seeing things then blends into doing things.